General Education Program Receives 2011 Improvement Award

Posted: September 13, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: September 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm

By Erin Cushing

Mason’s General Education Program was recently awarded the 2011 Improvement of General Education: Exemplary Program Award by the Association for General and Liberal Studies (AGLS).

AGLS created the award to recognize institutions with quality general education programs that help foster a liberal education. Three schools are recognized each year for their efforts to improve learning systems through careful research, analysis and implementation.

“The award is recognition of the commitment and very hard work of faculty and the General Education Committee to use evidence to judge the quality of the general education program,” says Karen Gentemann, associate provost for institutional effectiveness.

Applicants were evaluated on their ability to meet or exceed criteria in four areas, including defining and supporting learning goals, completing and analyzing an assessment process, and implementing change based upon those assessments.

AGLS recognized Mason’s General Education Program for its ability to identify challenges in the general education curriculum and to implement creative solutions. Mason’s approach included extensive student assessments, which highlighted both the program’s strengths and opportunities for improvement.

“Faculty who teach general education have responded to the assessment by making explicit the student learning expectations of the general education program and by creating assignments and projects that help students achieve those outcomes,” Gentemann states.

Gentemann, along with Rick Davis, associate provost for undergraduate education, and Ying Zhou, director of distance education, will attend the AGLS annual conference in October to receive the award and present a special plenary session on the general education program.

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